HomeCity Government NewsState Asks to Intervene in 600 Foothill Lawsuit

State Asks to Intervene in 600 Foothill Lawsuit

Leaders from the state, including the governor, attorney general and the Department of Housing and Community Development, announced on Dec. 12 in a joint press release that they will file a request to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the California Housing Defense Fund against the city of La Cañada Flintridge for its housing element and denial of the 600 Foothill project.
“In the filings, Attorney General [Rob] Bonta and HCD request that the court allow them to intervene in the case to uphold California’s housing laws, and reverse the city of La Cañada Flintridge’s denial of a mixed-use affordable housing project that would bring 80 mixed-income residential dwelling units, 14 hotel units, and 7,791 square feet of office space to the community,” reads the press release.
Both Attorney General Rob Bonta and Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke about the city of LCF not doing its part to address the state’s housing crisis.
“The city of La Cañada Flintridge is legally required to process this affordable housing project under California’s builder’s remedy because they did not adopt a compliant housing element on time,” Bonta said in the press release. “Far too many Californians struggle to access affordable housing, and cities have a duty to facilitate, not block, affordable housing to alleviate our housing crisis.
“The California Department of Justice is committed to enforcing California’s housing laws, that’s why we are asking the court to allow us to intervene in this case and ensure that the people of La Cañada Flintridge, and all our communities, can access the housing that they critically need,” he added.
In the joint press release, Newsom said, “La Cañada Flintridge is another community making excuses rather than building their fair share of housing. La Cañada Flintridge will learn, as other communities have, that the status quo is no longer acceptable, and ultimately, they will be held accountable.”
HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez also commented on the housing situation in the city.
“The facts, and the law, are clear. La Cañada Flintridge failed to adopt a substantially compliant housing element, and then unlawfully blocked mixed-income housing proposed under the builder’s remedy,” said Velasquez in the press release. “Cities and counties cannot pick and choose the rules that apply to them. When communities defy their obligation to promote housing production at all income levels, HCD will continue to take decisive action and hold them accountable to state housing law.”
The press release states that the city did not have a compliant housing element in place between Oct. 16, 2021, and Nov. 17, 2023, and was subject to the Housing Accountability Act’s “builder’s remedy.”
LCF Mayor Rick Gunter said he was surprised and disappointed to read the statement.
“As a city with a housing plan approved by the state, I was surprised and disappointed to read the attorney general’s statement saying that they would join the California Housing Defense Fund’s lawsuit against the city of La Cañada Flintridge,” Gunter said in a statement to the Outlook Valley Sun. “I am proud of the work done by our City Council and city staff in crafting a housing element that zones for 689 additional units, including 482 low-income housing units.”
He continued to say that throughout the process, the city has partnered with the state to be part of the solution to the housing crisis and will continue to do so.
“La Cañada Flintridge remains a city that values its residents and the unique character that makes our community a special place to call home and we will continue to work as a responsible and reliable partner to address the region’s housing needs,” he added.
City Manager Daniel Jordan also commented on the statement.
“Through the hard work and collaboration of city staff, engaged residents and our City Council, the city of La Cañada Flintridge developed a housing plan that was approved by the state,” Jordan said. “It was therefore unfortunate to read a press release from the attorney general’s office of their intent to join an existing lawsuit against the city over the details of a single development project.”
“Our housing element complies with every request made by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development and the city will continue to implement our state-certified housing element and uphold its commitment to do our fair share as a responsible partner,” he added.
A statement from the city said that although it is disappointed with the state’s decision to intervene, “The State’s involvement has not changed the city’s legal position that it complied with state housing mandates.”
It also states that the city will continue to defend itself against the current lawsuits.
“Moreover, the city will continue to partner with the state to implement our state-approved housing plan, as the city remains committed to doing its fair share to address the region’s need for additional housing.”
Alexandra Hack, one of the owners of the 600 Foothill project, said she is pleased with the decision of the state.
“We are pleased with the decision that the state, Gov. Newsom and Attorney General Bonta have made to intervene on this case,” Hack told the Outlook Valley Sun. “We are hopeful that this landmark action will bring much needed affordable housing to the city of La Cañada Flintridge.”

The city of La Cañada Flintridge said it will not change its legal stance on its housing element and will continue to defend itself against current lawsuits regarding development at 600 Foothill Blvd

First published in the December 21 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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